How to Care For Your Leather Shoes

You may have found that there is an overwhelming amount of information out there about how to care for your leather shoes. It seems everybody has a different opinion about how to go about taking care of such a simple thing. A few things are clear though, so this guide will serve as a simple set of principles when taking care of your leather shoes.

Step 1:
Realize that leather is skin, both figuratively and literally. You need to take care of your leather shoes almost as lovingly as you might purchase your skin care supplies.

Step 2:
To clean your leather shoes, first use soapy water and a soft cloth. Wipe away the excess. Then apply saddle soap all over the shoes, both inside and out. Wipe away the excess again. This will effectively clean your leather shoes without damaging them. It's a tried-and-true combination.

Step 3:
After cleaning your shoes, you are ready to apply a polish or wax. Make sure you choose the correct color. The purpose of polishes and waxes is not just to make your shoes look great, but also to protect them from the elements. Water damage and other damage are real threats to leather shoes, so be sure to protect them.

Step 4:
If your leather shoes are a bit small, or if they pinch in certain places, they will cause blisters and other foot aches. You can use a shoe stretcher, available at shoes stores and shoe repair shops, to lengthen or widen the shoe to your foot. If the shoe is pinching only in certain places, you can apply a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol solution to the problem area, then wear the shoe around the house with thick socks and some well-placed moleskin for a week.

Step 5:
If your shoes are out of shape, you can clean them, apply saddle soap and a leather conditioner, and then stuff them with newspapers and leave them for two nights. Alternatively, you can wear them around the house to break them back into shape. This process of softening and shaping is great for the health of your feet, allowing the shoes and your feet to become friends over time.